Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Or, more like, to the stereotype I think you fit as an English major? Every student remains unique and all people vary due to different levels of life, but undeniably, we associate certain vibes with specific fields of interests. Just as paint-splattered overalls signify art students and the law students already suit up in their business attire, English majors wear their subject on their sleeves. And on practically everything else, especially the current edition of the assigned reading. Still, plenty of variations exist even within the major. See if you fit into these categories of English majors, and try to spot your friends.
Keep reading for 10 types of English majors you’ll meet in college!
10. The Hobbit
Left undisturbed, Tolkien’s race of hobbits really do lead the perfect lives, don’t they? Living inside a hill with windows, six meals a day, lounging and reading. Tolkien unknowingly created a fantasy cottagecore. Well, hobbits may not be real, but the English majors who fit this description certainly fill our world. They chill in the sun and desire nothing more than a cottage and inordinate amounts of downtime.
These English majors also seem like the most productive students you will ever see — not necessarily because of their schoolwork. They just constantly have a new sunny project in tow. Whether its crocheting or reading new poetry or even photography, whatever they end up doing, it’ll be with style and with a smile.
9. The Gollum
As long as we stick with Lord Of The Rings references, shall we discuss the Gollums? Here, the Gollum’s precious might just be their favorite books. You won’t find them lounging in the sun— they probably locked themselves up in their room or a library corner.
They like to be alone and often let themselves get lost in their own thoughts. Pensive and solitary, Gollums get lost in the literature. Fret not — nothing drove these English majors crazy. They just enjoy the eccentric and probably have a dark academia aesthetic. Just a little more disheveled.
8. Wacky Writer
They may or may not be published yet, but they still work hard. They own far too many notebooks, all filled with half-complete ideas. If you can get them talking about their story, they will NEVER disappoint. The most mystical words float around these writers’ heads and they can’t wait to get it all down on paper.
You’ll find them in every creative writing class they can get their hands on. In literature classes, you can also expect them to delve way deeper into the story than you thought possible. Quirky and lovable friends, you can definitely point them out by their wacky but unique style.
7. The Undecided but Decided
“Oh, I’m just taking this class because it’s interesting,” they say about every extra English course ever. These honorary English majors don’t know exactly where they’ll land, but they make sure to take a few pit stops along the way. We all see their hearts drawing them to the English pit stops. While these Undecideds probably choose a different major at first, English certainly will share the spotlight as a double major or even a minor.
“Being an undecided major is hard because not knowing where you’re heading can be frightening. Taking all different classes to figure out which major is the best fit for me is what I am currently in the process of doing. English has always been a subject that I could work with, which is why I was thinking of becoming an English major,” St. John’s University freshman Julia Lepore said. “As of now in my second semester, I’ve been taking a creative writing course which so far has challenged me as a writer… English is about exploring different realms of your mind, going deep into thought and writing pieces about your story rather than someone else’s. English allows any emotion, feeling or thought that comes into your mind, which in my opinion is exhilarating!”
These students like to keep their options open for the future, and they just aren’t ready to let go of their book-nerd loves yet. Rightfully so.
6. The Forever Reader
On the nose? Yes. BUT an important distinction. A lot goes into the English major — we claim the history-obsessed, the would-be psych majors, post-structural activists and more. But this type of English major bloomed simply through their love of reading.
They bring heart and passion to each class and can point out storytelling details others might look over. Not only do they make sure they get caught up on the classics, but the Reader is also all over the contemporary scene. They know the best and newest authors… yet still manage to sit back with some Dickens.
5. Emo Poet
You definitely worry people might search through your notes app. Don’t worry, we all keep our weird thoughts in there. But you go a little harder. These English majors honed their poetry skills even before My Chemical Romance released “Welcome to the Black Parade” and showed no signs of stopping. Deep feelings brim to the surface and can only be expressed through writing.
These students also take advantage of creative writing classes and they bring a little depth to each one. It might be a little awkward at first when everyone else writes a limerick about a dog and they come in with their deepest fears— but that’s what we love it for. Beautifully expressive and someone we can relate to, they make every class an experience. And we love seeing their work.
4. The Activist
If you need the hottest takes on any piece of media, the English major Activist has your back. They love all theory and would be more than happy to discuss Foucault or Ahmad or Said all day. More than just the classics, they can bring modern activists and influencers to your classroom.
They have access to all the new resources too and direct the class to online speakers who might not get enough attention. These English majors contain the biggest hearts and certainly the big brains to back it up. You’ll be in awe of every idea flowing through this type of major.
3. The Lawyer
That’s right, not all English majors show up with dreams of putting out a novel or a screenplay. English majors must focus on rhetoric and the details of speech. Their reading comprehension and analysis need to be off the charts as well. That’s why you will most likely meet the Lawyer in your English class.
“Majoring in two subjects that are not the most popular on campus can be a challenge sometimes. With the right professors and right mindset, I have managed to view my two majors on as one and come across different skills of mine I never knew existed,” St. John’s University junior Victoria Bongiovanni said. “English & legal studies are definitely not the most spoken-about majors on our tiny campus. Throughout my college years so far my favorite English course I have taken has to be American Realism and Naturalism… I connect this to my legal studies major because we see constantly reading new cases which force us to pretend we are different roles to understand the fact pattern. Being able to use my imagery and skills from English make analyzing fact patterns and scenarios in law much easier.”
They probably possess a love for history too, so don’t be surprised if you share a history class with them either. Always bringing a level of sophistication — and usually some unusual but factual takes — both you and your professor will love the ever-present Lawyer.
2. The Teacher
Not literally, but kind of literally. Whether or not this English major ends up leading a classroom, they still exude big teacher energy. They might be a few levels of detachment from claiming the title “mom friend” and they always talk about their newest obsession — usually a new author or theory. They could lecture for hours, whether it’s in front of a podium or lounging in the dorm.
“I love taking English classes as someone who will teach one day because it allows me to not only develop my analysis skills more thoroughly, but I am able to latch onto different ideas for instruction,” St. John’s University junior Sam Haynia said. “I get excited listening to discussions in class because they give me more insight into how different people think about texts, and they remind me how important that aspect of an English class is going to be when I begin teaching.”
Even if they don’t categorize themselves as an education major, you could definitely see their path taking them to becoming a teacher at some point in their lives — probably middle school or higher. A college professor would also make sense for this English major, especially if they prefer to not work with noisy kids.
1. The Old Soul
This person doesn’t wear sweaters and cardigans for the aesthetic. They’re just cold. These types of English majors skipped right over adolescent ideology and went right into knitting and antiquated poetry. Even if they don’t walk with a cane, they certainly emit the vibes for it. This friend just makes sense as your grandpa and we adore them for it.
Intelligent, possibly a little crabby, this student was born to read literature and talk about it for hours. Even if it feels like a lecture you didn’t sign up for. Their tastes in what they read might be a little old-fashioned, but what else can we expect from the old soul?